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Soirees and Such

A Little Birdy Tells Us…

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That there’s a goodbye soirée for Sam Youngman later tonight. The location and time is being disclosed to close friends only. Youngman, who has worked as a White House Correspondent for The Hill and most recently, a political reporter for Reuters, is moving to Lexington, Ky. to cover politics for the Kentucky Herald-Leader.

If you are close to Youngman and somehow didn’t get the informal invite, write us for more details. You may be required to take a trivia test, but if you know Sam you should pass it easy enough.

A Book Party for Chris Matthews

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Look for MSNBC President Phil Griffin at a network-hosted book party for Chris Matthews on October 15. Matthews’ new book is Tip and the Gipper: When Politics Worked. He worked as a top aide to the late House Speaker Tip O’Neill for six years.

The venue is PJ Clarke’s Sidecar, located a stone’s throw from the White House.

By invitation only.

CNN “Crossfire” Party Packs a Punch

“It was terr i fy ying,” said CNN “Crossfire” host Van Jones, careful to enunciate every syllable when asked about his first night on the job.

At least at the Crossfire launch party held last night at the Carnegie Library he could finally let his hair down (so to speak) and enjoy a night with friends, colleagues, booze and a band.

His co-hosts popped in the crowd — Newt Gingrich with his big, shiny helmet of white hair, S.E. Cupp in a purple leather sleeveless dress and Stephanie Cutter in power red.

Meanwhile, others mingled: Newt’s wife, Callista held her own with her perfect, shiny, white-blond bob,  former “Crossfire” host Paul Begala wished the new hosts well, as Rep. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.) and fiancé, Maria Belen Chapur, attracted flashbulbs on the red carpet while a very thin Caroline Kennedy, President Obama’s nominee for Amb. to Japan, drew stares. Others spotted around the room: WJLA’s Rebecca Cooper, conservative radio host Laura Ingraham, The Weekly Standard Editor Bill Kristol (who is far shorter in person than we imagined), FNC’s Greta Van Susteren and husband, John Coale, WaPo‘s Jackie Kucinich, ex-TWT Editor Sam Dealey, TWT‘s senior opinion writer Emily Miller, The Daily Caller‘s Alex Pappas, Politico‘s Dylan Byers, The Hill‘s Emily Goodin, CQ Roll Call‘s Abby Livingston, Slate‘s Dave Weigel, TIME‘s Michael Crowley, MSNBC’s Karen Finney, lefty radio host Bill Press, Speaker John Boehner‘s spokesman Michael Steel and wife, Mary Kathryn Covert, lobbyist Jack Quinn and wife, Susanna, Americans for Tax Reform Prez Grover Norquist, NRSC’s fiery Brad Dayspring, and consultant Brian Walsh.

CNNer’s spotted in the crowd: CNN President Jeff Zucker, Washington Bureau Chief Sam Feist, Jessica Yellin, Dana Bash, Brianna Keilar, Wolf Blitzer, Gloria Borger, Candy Crowley (without a shred of makeup), Wendell Goler, Matt Dornic, and Edie Emery.

Asked about Cupp, his conservative co-host, Jones said, “S.E. is the most likeable person ever born. I think they created her in a lab. She hypnotizes you and then she goes in for the kill.”

Cupp also had a thing or two to say about Jones. Read more

The Divas Inside Margaret Carlson’s Apartment

The scene inside Bloomberg‘s Margaret Carlson‘s picturesque Kalorama apartment last night was regal and serene as staffers at The Atlantic and National Journal gave Emily Lenzner, their new head of corporate communications, a welcome toast. Lenzner (pictured at right on the left) replaces Linda Douglass.

Bigwig journalists and other important-for-Washington people spotted around the living room included The Atlantic‘s Editor James Bennet, WJLA’s Gordon Peterson, CNN’s Hilary Rosen, Michael Steel, spokesman to House Speaker John Boehner and former ABC News producer Ian Cameron, husband to U.S. Nat. Security Advisor Susan Rice. WaPo‘s spunky “Erik Wemple Blog” was apparently there, but we must’ve been on different shifts and didn’t have the pleasure of bumping into him there.

As the mostly typical Washington cocktail party circuit sipped wine, there were homey touches like just baked chocolate chip cookies on trays as well as a large spray of sunflowers in Carlson’s kitchen. There were also servers dotting the room handing out lovely bite-sized snacks such as spinach feta flat bread squares.

The most dramatic part of the evening came when partygoers hushed long enough for Carlson and The Atlantic‘s Editor-at-Large Steve Clemons to give short speeches. “It’s great to be in Margaret’s home tonight,” Clemons began, before moving into this: “What The Atlantic does well is hire divas. I’m gay, so being a diva is high praise.” He glanced around the room and called out various “divas” such as National Journal’s newly installed Editor Tim Grieve, “the political diva” and the always charming (ha-ha) John Fox Sullivan (an “extraordinary diva”). Publisher David Bradley was named as “totally a Divo” along with Bennet and Carlson. He concluded, “Emily, I know you’re a diva as well.”

Lenzner did not demur about the “diva” comment and said she was happy to be part of the diva crew. She left it at that and encouraged guests to return to mingling.

Upon meeting Grieve (who once received a FishbowlDC award for having the worst temper in Washington) he shook my hand, exchanged niceties and said, “It’s been 30 seconds and I haven’t yelled at you.” He added, “I don’t have horns.”

See who else showed up… Read more

A Reception Fit for This Town?

Seems like a party NYT‘s Mark Leibvoich might want to attend.

On Sept. 10 Bloomberg‘s Margaret Carlson will open her home for a reception for one of Atlantic Media‘s newest hires, Emily Lenzner, who is filling the shoes of Linda Douglass as head of communications.

The hosts are… Read more

A Chance to Meet Michelle Fields

We could hardly contain ourselves when we got word that Next Generation.TV’s Allen West and Michelle Fields would be the stars at an upcoming happy hour. Apparently neither could The Daily Caller‘s editor and columnist Christopher Bedford, who forwarded the party notice to colleagues, adding, “Allen West happy hour on Thursday. Word is you might get to meet Michelle Fields.”

Bedford’s remark might be tongue-in-cheek since Fields was fired from The Daily Caller in late August of 2012 for a lack in production. She still has friends there, however, notably, Jamie Weinstein (wink! wink!). Fields’ focus has always been on getting herself on TV, not writing stories.

The soirée is 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday in Sonoma’s private dining room on Capitol Hill.

Reason Mag Turns 45, Editors Have Managed Not to Kill Each Other

Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch fucking hate each other. Put them in the same air space and you’re likely to hear them discuss their persisting feelings of blind rage for each other. Without even a trace of a smile, Gillespie, dressed head to toe in his signature black frock, explains the dynamic between the two. “We have a tight relationship that usually ends in physical violence,” he says.

Welch, who is editor-in-chief of the magazine, casts a weary glance in Gillespie’s direction: “He’s from New Jersey.”

The editors of Reason Magazine, Reason.com and Reason TV flaunted their hatred Wednesday night at a party in the company newsroom off Dupont Circle to celebrate the mag’s 45-year anniversary. The scene wasn’t raucous. It was peaceful, pleasant and a rarity in Washington parties in that you could breathe, hear and get a drink easily.

One senses that the above scene between Gillespie and Welch has played out in variations before. No less funny, whatever the case. Gillespie, who edits the online publication and Reason TV, has been at Reason for 19 years. Welch, since 2002. “I took two years off for bad behavior at the LA Times,” says Welch.

When I bring up their searing hatred to another employee, it’s explained that they couldn’t possibly have that much friction between them — Gillespie spends a portion of the month in Ohio, where his kids live, and Welch moved to Brooklyn a year ago, but visits D.C. often.

Weave around the newsroom and there is a relaxed vibe along with a mix of various accented employees. A week old intern with spiky hair and English accent greets us outside. Ahh…he’s Guy Bentley, the greeter and the guy whose key fob card is letting guests upstairs. “Great, fantastic, really well,” he says, when asked how his internship is going. “UK is a little depressing,” he adds, explaining that he wants to move to the United States. He says he would’ve been here a week early but for a visa issue.

Later on we run into Guy again who’s chatting with another intern named Zenon Evans. He’s blond, sort of exotic looking and in red trousers. Maybe we were duped by the British intern, thinking all their interns are from around the world. “Where are you from?” we ask.  Clearly expecting him to say Sweden or Munich, he says, “Cleveland.”

Our faces fell as we dipped into complete and utter disappointment. Who comes to a Reason party to encounter an intern from Cleveland? (Only kidding, Zenon.) “I love writing,” he says. “I’m dedicated to the libertarian cause. I feel like I’m actually accomplishing something.”

Reason‘s newsroom is unique in that there is a glass-encased fishbowl of a room plopped in the center. It apparently has poor acoustics and who wants to be on display like a fish with everyone pointing? Nonetheless, it’s a unique place to chat and tonight it’s where the cuisine — a low-key mix of wraps, vegetable platters and such — is situated.

It’s here in the fishbowl where we bump into Matthew Feeney, a British (we think) accented assistant editor. He was born in Scotland, but his parents are from England and New Zealand so his accent is all fucked up. Asked what his pet peeve as an editor is, he replies, “Not for the record.” (Seriously. A softball question to end all softball questions and he can’t say on the record what his editorial pet peeve is? We make fun of him to his face about it, but eventually let it go.) Here’s what he will tell us. Spoiler alert: It has nothing to do with sex or violence. “I’ve been working here since May. I enjoy my colleagues and the freedom to write about what I want, when I want.” Don’t mess with this guy! He’ll kick your ass.

By far the weirdest thing in the newsroom is the male pants-less mannequin located by the bar in the main newsroom. It’s showing off the black Reason T-shirt. (See it after the jump…)

In the back of the office is a library complete with a gargoyle and skeleton head. The library is the place where journalists go to “think great thoughts,” Gillespie explains. It’s just outside the library that we meet Preston Cornish. What kind of a name is this? We have no idea, but he seems to be a solid American. He manages the business advisory council for Reason. Like Feeney, he loves his colleagues, but he doesn’t own any Reason apparel. “It’s a great group of people who are committed to advancing freedom,” he says. “We punch above our weight.”

Somehow we get into the topic of cussing in the newsroom. “First time I heard ‘bloody f–ing c-word’ at 10 a.m. I was like, ‘alright mate,’” said Cornish. (By the way, “c–t” in England isn’t nearly as bad as it is here.) He glances at Feeney, who is apparently a pretty foul-mouthed bloke.

Spotted in the crowd… Read more

WaPo Wine Tasting: ‘Please Check With Your Supervisors Before Attending’

WaPo‘s internal memos can be a hoot.

Today The Washington Post launches its Wine Club. To celebrate, they’re inviting employees to a wine tasting from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. The party takes place at the “New Ventures space” or “4th Floor Lennox” where workers will be able to sample wines from the publication’s first shipment.

Our favorite line: “Please check with your supervisor before attending.”

What are they, 12? We think employees are responsible enough to decide if they can attend, don’t you?

As a perkRead more

CBS’ Bob Schieffer Brings Texas to D.C.

Bob Schieffer was almost unrecognizable Saturday afternoon as he sat on the patio of the Occidental Grill.

Not dressed in his usual dark suit he wears on the set of CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Schieffer was sporting a white cowboy hat and aviator sunglasses as he sat sipping beer and chatting. He wasn’t there to discuss the latest political stories or moderate a debate, but was instead getting ready for a different kind of gig. His band, Honky Tonk Confidential, was prepping to play for a crowd at the restaurant’s BBQ, Beer & Bourbon event.

Matt Baker, chef de cuisine at the Occidental Grill, said the first annual event was a way of kicking off summer. Being Texas born and bred, Baker said he wanted to incorporate food from back home. And since Schieffer is also from the Lone Star State, Baker said he thought his band, which plays music straight out of Texas, would fit in perfectly.

“I’m from Texas,” Baker said. “I just really wanted to bring Texas to D.C.”

Schieffer began playing with the  band in 2006 and sang songs he wrote, such as “TV Anchorman,” and a few covers, such as “Friends in Low Place” by Garth Brooks. With his Texas-sized belt buckle, Schieffer seemed at home behind the microphone as he told the story behind each of the songs. Read more

National Geographic Celebrates 125 Years, Praises James Cameron, Alex Trebek

Erin Pettit is a glaciologist. Indeed, that means she studies glaciers.

But she’s not on an ice sheet in Antarctica or a glacier in Alaska. Instead, she’s inside the National Building Museum enjoying a glass of wine, which she says is “excellent.” Pettit is one of the many National Geographic “explorers” who was honored at the Explorer’s Symposium and Gala Thursday night, which coincided with the organization’s 125-year anniversary.

Special awards were presented to James Cameron, Alex Trebek, BASE jumper Felix Baumgartner, philanthropist Howard Buffet and oceanographer Sylvia Earle.

Pettit said the event was “pretty amazing” because all the other explorers there had crazy ideas that they pursued, like herself. After designing hybrid cars for three years, Pettit moved on to study glaciers and has recently began researching a method that uses acoustics.

“I’m one of those people who has crazy ideas in my head all the time,” Pettit said.

Baumgartner is another one of those people with crazy ideas. In October of last year, he set the world record for skydiving when he jumped from 24 miles above the Earth and was the first human to break the sound barrier in free fall.

At the event’s reception Thursday night, however, Baumgartner had both feet on the ground, wearing a tuxedo instead of the Red Bull plastered flight suit he wore when he jumped to fame as he sipped on some type of blue drink.

“It’s cool, it’s very refreshing,” Baumgartner said of the beverage.

The rest of the crowd was also in tuxes and elegant gowns.

The organization even served its own wine, “Ocean Reserve,” and had a model of the submarine that Cameron used when diving to the deepest place on Earth, the Mariana Trench, along with plenty of drinks and a massive bar.

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